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Salted Peanuts Vs Multigrain Chips
Which is the better snack? FITSHIT Compares!
A few weeks ago I started the ‘FITSHIT Compares’ series. A comparison of two commonly consumed food products, to see which one’s healthier.
The comparison methodology: FITSHIT’s self-developed NuCaP method.
Nutrition. Calories. Portion. NuCaP.
A simple 3 step process that helps you answer that all-pervasive question — which is healthier?
Dark Chocolate Vs Butter Popcorn, was the first stare down we had using NuCaP. And just when chocolate seemed to be losing, the devil named ‘portion size’ came in and tipped the scale in its favor.
Yes, given the way both are consumed, I stuck my neck out and proclaimed good quality, dark chocolate to be healthier.
This week, we pick another, equally common, pairing. Salted Peanuts and Multigrain Chips.
Both ubiquitous snacks. With evening tea, as office nibbles or as alcohol’s evil cousins, one of these inevitably makes an appearance in our diets, once every few days.
And I’m sure you’ve wondered at times, what’s the healthier snack. Because stopping your hand from going for another bite of either is really, really tough.
Now, if you’d remember from the first article, we make our comparisons very specific, by picking the most ubiquitous brands for each type of food. This week too, we follow that rule.
I’ve picked Haldiram’s Salted Peanuts and Too Yumm Multigrain Chips.
Let the games begin!
Disclaimer: In the spirit of keeping these comparisons unbiased, I don’t do any pre-work on them. That’s to say that, I too, discover the answer as we go along.
If you’re on a diet, or worried about putting on/ losing weight, this is the first parameter that should concern you. If you exceed your total calorie quota for the day, then no amount of nutrition will help you achieve your fitness goals.
100gm of Peanuts has 637 kcal.
100gm of Chips has 475 kcal.
There’s nothing to say here. Per gm, peanuts have ~30% more calories than these chips. So if you’re looking at calorie control as your primary driver, the chips clearly trump the peanuts.
But that’s just one of 3 variables. This can still swing either way.
Within NuCaP, nutrition is the trickiest beast. Anything, from healthy-fats to vitamins to high-protein can be used as reason to claim ‘nutritious’. If I had a penny for every-time someone justified eating dark-chocolate for the anti-oxidants, or popcorn for ‘how fibrous it is’, I’d be a rich man.
But let’s be clear, if you really wanted anti-oxidants or fibre or minerals, you’d be consuming green tea or whole grains or fresh fruits. No one devours a bag of popcorn, or chips, or even peanuts, for its health benefits.
And hence, the question of nutrition, in the case of snacking, comes down to which one causes the least harm to your fitness goals. And judging by that lens, here is the hierarchy of villains, each more villainous than the next:
Sugar →Refined Carb → Unsaturated Fat → Saturated Fat→ Whole, Raw Carb → Protein
On their own, peanuts are fairly nutritious. They have 0 Sugar, 20+Grams of Protein, and largely Unsaturated Fats. That’s a good snack.
Infact, the reason why they are high on calories, is because they’re full of good fats. Which isn’t the worst thing in the world. I’d beg you to be a lot more wary of carbs.
The problem is that unsalted, un-fried peanuts, aren’t the most palatable. And hence, we mostly end up going for fried, salty versions like the one here.
That adds the saturated, unhealthy fats and the sodium burst from the salt. Those are the only negatives, nutritionally speaking.
So if you can, make plain peanuts your snacking friend, and you won’t need this comparison. And because they wont be tasty and addictive as hell, even the portion sizes will remain in control.
Let me begin by saying that I’m actually quite impressed by this product. They’ve really made a decent attempt at providing a healthier alternative to your regular Lay’s chips, and that too at an affordable price.
Unfortunately though, no matter how good they are, nutritionally, they lose to Peanuts hands down.
They have 10X the Sugar (which is a slightly unfair comparison since peanuts barely have any), and less than half the protein. They also have 3X the carbohydrates (65gm per 100gm). And while the manufacturer has tried to include some healthy carbs like Gram, Ragi and Soya flour, given the pricing, they couldn’t get rid of refined carbs like Corn Flour etc. Which is a big NO.
We’re at 1–1. Portion Size, hence, gets to decide who wins.
Now, to make a comparison that covers a large chunk of readers, I’ll make an assumption.
I assume, that you’re a health-conscious consumer. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have reached this far. Neither would you have picked up multigrain chips in the first place. You’d be watching Netflix and be elbow-deep in a packet of Lays.
That you aren’t, makes you someone who, while she enjoys her snacks, also worries about keeping fit. As
As you’d agree, unlike how nutritional information is displayed on packs, we consumers rarely consume packaged foods in 100gm multiples. Our measures are more intuitive — half a bowl, half a packet, a handful of — and such like.
So, given we’ve established that you’re health-conscious, I further assume that you never consume(unless you’re drunk), a full packet of either chips or peanuts. Let’s say you share a packet of chips with a partner, and peanuts you eat half a small bowl of.
Convert that into grams, and that’s 30gm of chips, and about 25gm of peanuts. Now let’s compare.
30gm Multigrain Chips
- Calories: ~140kcal
- Carbs: ~20gm
- Sugar: ~2gm
- Protein: ~3gm
25gm Salted Peanuts
- Calories: ~160kcal
- Carbs: ~5gm
- Sugar: 0
- Protein: ~6gm
It’s a close call, but at these portion sizes, I’d call it in favor of Peanuts. They’re far more nutritious, for a few more calories.
But here’s the problem (and you know it).
Depending on what’s your weakness, you might lose all control on portion sizes. Going through multiple packets of either peanuts or chips, isn’t unheard of. And with Peanuts, the calories mount a lot, LOT faster. Just increase your portion size of peanuts from 25gm to 40gm (that’s just another handful), and the calories suddenly become TWICE that of 30gm Chips.
Infact, one of the leading reason why people who feel they’re eating healthy, and substituting all snacking with nuts, still don’t lose weight, is because they fail to understand the calorie density of nuts.
To give you an easy comparison, regular Milk Chocolate is less calorie dense than nuts. 100gm of Milk Chocolate has about 570 Kcal. That’s 10% lesser than Peanuts and Cashews and Almonds.
Chew on that.
Pro Tip: If you’re prone to binging on peanuts, then go for Masala peanuts instead. Add a lot of onion and tomatoes and green chilli to the peanuts. These additions add volume at almost no extra calories. And the fibre from these veggies fills you up faster. Not to mention, if your measure is a handful or spoonful, this simple trick will halve the calories you eat per serving. And it’s far tastier. #Win.